Diana Butler Bass Profile picture
Sep 23, 2018 14 tweets 3 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
The New Testament reading from today's lectionary preaches itself -- and it offers wisdom for all to live these difficult days. James 3:13-4:2. #SundayMorning
The passage begins with a question:

"Who is wise and understanding among you?"
The author of the letter says that wisdom is known through character and action:

"Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom."
There are, however, traits and choices that run counter to wisdom:

"But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish."
And there are consequences to "bitter envy & selfish ambition," hubris and lies. James says: "For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind."
Sounds an apt description of American politics right now. But we rarely hear of wisdom as a desirable virtue of our social life, much less a character traits of leaders and politicians. We mostly hear about charisma and other kinds of power. Not the power of wisdom.
But wisdom has power - the power of peace:

"But wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy & good fruits, w/o a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace."
Wisdom overcomes division: "Those conflicts & disputes among you, where do they come from? Don't they come from cravings that are at war w/i you? You want something & don't have it; so you murder. You covet something & can't obtain it; so you engage in disputes & conflicts."
The passage ends with words that feel awkward to contemporary people: "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
But the context is really quite beautiful -- it could be rendered "Place yourself under the wisdom that leads to peace."

In other words, make yourself subject to those things that are NOT envy, hubris, and lying. Receive gifts that flow from gratitude, humility, and truth.
Gratitude, humility, and truth are attributes of the Divine, they are aspects of the sacred that we can live here and now. And if we walk in their path, we will be wise, we embody sacred wisdom in the world.
The text depicts all that is not-Wisdom as the "devil." So, if you want to resist envy, hubris, and lies, wisdom is a spiritual resistance.

Place yourself under the guidance of wisdom, know that this is living a sacred way, and resist all that opposes true peace.
Let wisdom embrace you, shape you, guide you. And all that is not-Wisdom, will flee.
Passages like this are NOT about navel-gazing or quietism. These are insights on how to cultivate a life of true peace that actively resists evil. Wisdom isn't about you sitting around in self-congratulatory spirituality. It is about making the world anew.

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More from @dianabutlerbass

Oct 8, 2018
Since Friday, I was mostly off-line -- I was leading a retreat at Ghost Ranch, NM. This was the view I woke up to:
I'd make some sort of snarky comment like, "What did I miss?"

But I know what I missed. Just enough wifi to hear some of the news.
It was hard -- knowing that was happening, how important, how much pain my friends and colleagues were feeling, how angering. How I'd been shaking with rage for days before I got to NM.
Read 12 tweets
Sep 30, 2018
Well, it is #SundayMorning and the lectionary readings again preach themselves. For those of you who don't know what a lectionary is, it is an assigned 3 yr cycle of readings for churches -- prepped long ago.

The text for this week is the story of Esther.
About a woman -- in this case, the Queen -- who stands up against male authorities and insists on justice.

(Yeah, you can't make these things up.)
The king and Haman went in to feast with Queen Esther. On the second day, as they were drinking wine, the king again said to Esther, “What is your petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.”
Read 21 tweets
Sep 29, 2018
I don't expect much out of Jerry Falwell, but this one leaves me nearly speechless.

There is NOTHING here that remotely resembles Christianity.
There is no ethical position in political theology EVER in church history that supports these words.
It is a clear attack on Jeff Flake -- whose friendship, it is widely reported, with Chris Coons is based (in part) on the belief that quiet faith is an aspect of the moral life of politics.
Read 12 tweets
Sep 28, 2018
Dear Sen .@JeffFlake:
I grew up in Scottsdale, graduating from Saguaro HS in 1977. During 1976-77, I was Chairperson of AZ Teenage Republicans and was Teenage Republican of the Year.
I even have a letter from Sen Goldwater thanking me for my energy and passion for the Republican party in Arizona.
A lot of my friends now don't know that, because, quite honestly, it has been a long time since I've voted for the GOP. Because the party hasn't been good to women. A party I once proudly served seemed to betray women like me with a deep commitment to justice.
Read 21 tweets
Sep 27, 2018

I realized something today I'd never realized before.

I've written about my own #MeToo that happened when I was 14. For years after, I was terrified of flying.
It never occurred to me that there could have been a connection between the two things.
I didn't want to be confined in a small space with strangers -- one in which I was strapped in with no control.
Read 10 tweets
Sep 27, 2018
I'm so grateful for @KaitlinCurtice -- brave warrior loving woman.
I'm so grateful for @GlennonDoyle -- honest, funny, justice storyteller.
I'm so grateful for @CarolHoward -- pastor with a heart for healing.
Read 11 tweets

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